Oxytocin what is it and what are its effects on the body
To a lot of people, Oxytocin is a very familiar hormone but it is known by different people using different names and terms. Some individuals call it the love hormone, others call it the cuddle chemical, the hug hormone, the moral molecule, and even the bliss hormone and this is mainly because of its unmatched effects on human social behaviors. It plays an important role in love and affection and it is essential in supporting the female biological functions during reproduction and child delivery.
What is Oxytocin?
Oxytocin is a natural hormone that is synthesized in the human brain then it is stored in the pituitary glands just at the base of the brain, where it is secreted whenever its functions are desired. Chemists classify this hormone as a nonapeptide which means that it is a peptide that contains nine amino acids. Biologists, on the other hand, classify this hormone as a neuropeptide because it functions as a brain neurotransmitter and a hormone that regulates the body’s physiological functions. The role of oxytocin in the female reproductive process is realized during childbirth and breastfeeding. During labor, this hormone is released by the pituitary glands and its main functions are to increase the motility of the uterine walls and to facilitate the contraction of the Uterus/womb. The release of this hormone during labor also triggers the widening of the cervix and the vagina which further creates a more favorable condition for the successful delivery of an infant. It is released in very large amounts during labor then is retained until after the stimulation of the nipples by the young one. At this point, it acts as a stimulator of breastfeeding since it facilitates the production of milk and milk let-down. Various researchers have summed up the important roles of oxytocin in reproduction by reasoning that it is meant to serve the propagation of the human species. Through evolution, this hormone has strived to maintain the complex actions of reproductive functions and human social behavior. For this reason, it is known as the sole proprietor of life. Oxytocin is widely used as a prescription drug under the brand name Pitocin. A previous brand by the name Synocinon was also widely prescribed but it is no longer sold in the clinical markets. At Absolute Pharmacy we sell the highest grade of Oxytocin Nasal Spray. Clinicians mainly prescribe Oxytocin to induce the contractions of the uterus during birth and to strengthen them at the time of labor. Oxytocin is also used to minimize or prevent excessive bleeding after child delivery. This drug can be used in an abortion/ the medical termination of a pregnancy and also during a miscarriage.
The effects of Oxytocin on emotions
When Oxytocin is released into the bloodstream, it affects lactation and various processes in the uterus, but when it is released into specific parts of the brain, it has the ability to affect emotions. It can also affect cognitive aspects and social behaviors. Oxytocin is a hormone that has attracted a lot of attention because of its positive effects on pro-social behaviors and emotional responses. Various studies have confirmed that this hormone has an impact on outgoing responses that are associated with trust, relaxation and psychological stability. However, additional studies have suggested that this hormone does not just work alone in emotional and social chemistry but rather, it is one of the important components in a very complex neurochemical system in the body which allows the body to recognize and adapt positively to highly emotional situations. Nonetheless, scientific research has uncovered that Oxytocin in the brain exhibits specific abilities that play a key role in modulating social behaviors that include a mother's love and care, aggression, sexual behavior, bonding between couples, social memory and trust.
Oxytocin Release During Sex
In both men and women, sexual activity stimulates the production of oxytocin which plays a major role in sexual arousal and orgasms. The reason why this reaction occurs is still not clear but in women, there are theories that since oxytocin increases their uterine motility, it may be an aid to enable sperms to get to their destination which is the ovum. Some researchers have suggested that Oxytocin plays a major role in attaining an orgasm. Additionally, it is presumed that there is a strong relationship between the intensity of an orgasm and the levels of oxytocin in the plasma.
Effects of Oxytocin on your behavior
Many studies have been carried out to establish the effects of Oxytocin on human behavior. From the results, oxytocin has had the following properties.
- A brain scan of men who had been given a nasal spray of Oxytocin and a placebo control revealed that this hormone was associated with activating the reward centers of their brains. This was followed by a greater feeling of attraction towards their partners when compared to other women on photographs.
- High levels of Oxytocin proved to trigger the sensitivity of individuals to other people’s emotions. Study subjects that were receiving the nasal spray of Oxytocin took note of people's emotions and facial expressions more vividly and intensely.
- Oxytocin can make an individual feel more extroverted and more outgoing. A research conducted in the year 2011 showed that oxytocin can improve self-perception in social situations and it can also amplify personal traits such as trust, openness, warmth and altruism.
- This hormone that enables people to love can also encourage people to lie. A study carried out on a group of participants showed that oxytocin can encourage a person to lie for the benefit of a group of people or themselves.
Oxytocin For Psychiatric therapy
Research that was conducted to uncover the anxiolytic properties of Oxytocin and its pro-social influences and roles in love and beneficial relief is what triggered the idea of using this hormone as a neuromodulator. So far, it has proved to be the most promising neurotransmitter for the brain system that can be manipulated for the management and the treatment of various psychiatric illnesses that can include autism, social phobia, and postpartum depression. In another research paper dated 2011, the researchers concluded that oxytocin has a very high potential in enhancing individual and interpersonal well-being. They also pointed out that it might have important applications in the management of neuropsychiatric conditions and mental illnesses especially those characterized by fear, reduced trust, repetitive behaviors and avoidance of social interactions.
Recent developments in the study of Oxytocin in psychotherapy have concluded that
- Oxytocin can activate social regions of the brain in children with autism. These studies showed that this hormone can normalize the regions of the brain that are responsible for the social deficits that are observed in children with autism.
- Oxytocin may also have a role in anger management. Results from various studies elaborated that certain polymorphisms of the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) are related to an increased tendency to react aggressively to situations. Particularly, the differences in the OXTR gene is what appears to affect the relationship between alcohol and aggressive behavior.
- Recent studies have shown that oxytocin increases the release of prostaglandin E2 in the cells lining the intestinal tract. This can substantially help to encourage a faster healing of injuries on the intestinal lining and it can also protect this lining from injury in the first place. This feature makes Oxytocin an essential medication for preventing induced intestinal injury during chemoradiation therapies.
The Following are facts about Oxytocin
- Oxytocin is a natural neuropeptide that is produced in the hypothalamus and secreted by the pituitary gland.
- Oxytocin is released during sex, childbirth, and lactation to help in reproductive functions.
- This neuropeptide exerts multiple psychological effects that include influencing social behavior and emotion.
- Oxytocin is prescribed for a variety of obstetric and gynecological reasons, including to aid in childbirth and lactation.
- High levels of the "love hormone" have been observed in couples in the first six months of a relationship.
- Oxytocin has an anti-anxiety (anxiolytic) effect and may increase romantic attachment and empathy.
- Research shows that oxytocin may have beneficial effects for people with autistic spectrum disorders.
- Oxytocin appears to play a role in protecting the intestine from damage, with potential for use in the treatment of irritable bowel disease.
Oxytocin has garnered a lot of attention from the media as a social solution and as a treatment for autism and a variety of mental disorders. Even though it depicts positive characteristics, some researchers still warn that it may exhibit some negative effects. Too many questions are still unanswered on exactly how this hormone works and under what circumstances it effects its actions. But even with so much unknown information, researchers still have faith that one day, Oxytocin might actually be the most useful compound in managing mental disorders that affect an individual's ability to relate to others. For more information about this medicayion, feel free to contact us.